University of Illinois starts virtual campus tours

Campus is closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but students can still tour campus through virtual reality and YouTube and photo tours.
people wearing VR headsets
(Lucrezia Carnelos / Unsplash)

With campus closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Illinois Urbana—Champaign has given prospective students a new way to tour its campus online, the university announced last week.

“We’re disappointed that we’re unable to host you and your family at this time,” UI’s admissions department wrote on its website. “We understand that visiting campus is an ideal way to get a better feel for who we are and what we can offer you.”

But with its new virtual tour, UI can now let potential applicants explore campus landmarks, listen to stories from current students and attend information sessions with university advisers.

In UI’s new YouTube series, called Touring Time, campus visitors are guided around the university’s campus, shown prominent locations and given fun facts about various spots on campus, like how students can make University of Illinois-branded waffles in the dinning hall, and that Foellinger Auditorium has a statue of a pineapple on its roof.


UI’s virtual reality experience — created entirely by current students — along with a photo tour of high quality images, allows prospective students to explore campus in more detail. Daily live information sessions will also be hosted by UI’s admissions department to answer questions about applying to college.

Campus tours aren’t the only in-person activities being canceled at universities. In addition to higher education institutions canceling their in-person classes, many have also opted to move graduation ceremonies online, including Purdue University, the University of Nevada, Johns Hopkins University, Virginia Tech, West Virginia University, Delaware State University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Texas Austin.

Betsy Foresman

Written by Betsy Foresman

Betsy Foresman was an education reporter for EdScoop from 2018 through early 2021, where she wrote about the virtues and challenges of innovative technology solutions used in higher education and K-12 spaces. Foresman also covered local government IT for StateScoop, on occasion. Foresman graduated from Texas Christian University in 2018 — go Frogs! — with a BA in journalism and psychology. During her senior year, she worked as an intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and moved back to the capital after completing her degree because, like Shrek, she feels most at home in the swamp. Foresman previously worked at Scoop News Group as an editorial fellow.

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